Located in the heart of Ahmedabad, the Kankaria Lake has always been one of the often-visited spots in Ahmedabad and has been a part of Ahmedabad’s history since the 15th century. The lake and the surrounding areas drew families from all over the city as well as its surrounding areas and the sight of families relaxing and enjoying quality time together has never been rare in this landmark. Yet, over the years the development in around the Lake could not keep pace with the number of people visiting the area due to which cleanliness, environment or adequate facilities at the Lake suffered immensely.
All this changed when Shri Narendra Modi dawned the mantle of the Chief Minister of Gujarat. He became determined to alter the face of the Lakefront and turn it into a world-class spot that not only draws people from all over the world but also offers something exciting to people across all age groups.
Today, the Kankaria Lakefront Development Project stands completed and the grandeur and the charm that was lost over the years has returned to the Kankaria Lake. This can be attributed to the integrated one system approach of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) backed by the Gujarat Government, which not only reinforced the character of the public place but also turned it into an enriching experience. The project was taken up and executed in a remarkable span of 2 years by 2008.
The Kankaria Lakefront is also the site of the annual Kankaria Carnival that has been a major success for the last 4 years. The Carnival has become one of the most awaited events in Ahmedabad and every year there are a wide range of cultural programmes, performances, skits and competitions for people cutting across age groups. Shri Modi views it as an occasion to express love for Ahmedabad and its unique culture!
On 25th December 2008 Shri Modi inaugurated ‘Atal Express’, a mini-train that has become a major attraction at the Kankaria Lake over the years. ‘Atal Express’ is named after India’s former Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The coaches of the train were imported from overseas.
Due to the phenomenal response to the train and acceding to public demand, the AMC has started a second mini-train for people at Kankaria.
Inaugurated by Shri Narendra Modi in December 2010, the Kids City is unarguably the biggest attraction at the Kankaria Lakefront. This is a one of its kind place for children offering a unique experience of 18 human activities ranging from wearing the majestic robes of a judge, running police stations or extinguishing fire. There are also individual games children can enjoy at the Kids City. A landmark opportunity in the Kids City is the chance to interview none other than Shri Modi himself and that too by small children! This is a place where even a day seems less for a child.
Sandstone Mural to Depict History of Gujarat Since Ancient Times
Be it the dockyard of Lothal, the Temple of Somnath, Dwarka or Sabarmati Ashram, Gujarat is home to numerous places that have great historical significance. In order to popularize the state’s glorious history among the people, especially the youth, Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated a 2500 sq ft sandstone mural in December 2011, which is a part of a 30,000 sq ft project to depict the history of Gujarat since ancient times.
The topics have been chosen after intensive deliberations with a panel of scholars and eminent citizens. This project will create history because the world’s largest mural is of 9,000 sq ft while this will be 3 times its size.
Other Notable Attractions
The lists of attractions at the Lakefront do not end here. You can now enjoy a bird’s eye view of Ahmedabad city from a helium balloon. The water bubble or the Zorb Ball is equally popular.
Those who have visited the place have been awestruck by the cleanliness and the top class maintenance of the entire premises. It was inconceivable to think of places that are visited by so many people to be so well maintained but yet again, Gujarat has shown the way in doing things differently.
Lakefront Recipient of Awards and Special Mentions
The wonderful work done by the AMC at the Kankaria Lakefront has drawn praise from various quarters. In April 2012 the AMC bagged the ‘Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment’ award for the Kankaria Lakefront Development and the Sabarmati Riverfront Development projects. The award has been instituted by HUDCO.
In July 2012 the AMC was given a special mention in the prestigious Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize 2012. The AMC was lauded for implementing a comprehensive city development plan to make Ahmedabad a more livable, equitable and sustainable metropolis. It also lauded the role played by Shri Narendra Modi towards Ahmedabad’s urban regeneration.
The Prize authorities listen the Kankaria Lakefront Project along with the Sabarmati Riverfront development project and Janmarg (Ahmedabad’s BRTS) as examples and scope of urban development in a city.
Noting the change around the Kankaria Lake, the Lee Kuan Yew Prize award notes:
“Equally visible is the 2008 Kankaria Lake redevelopment. This former dilapidated and polluted royal bathing ground is now a vibrant cultural and recreation centre after implementation of practical solutions to improve the environment, organise traffic movement and rehabilitate the food vendors”
The redevelopment of the Kankaria Lakefront has been a project very close to the heart of Shri Narendra Modi and he has displayed tremendous vision and zeal in ensuring that this cultural icon central to Ahmedabad’s identity is restored back to his grandeur in no time!